As the largest economic power in the Middle East, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has become no stranger to startups. Over the years, the nation has sought to expand its industrial portfolio beyond oil in favor of more entrepreneurial pursuits.
KSA’s strategic plan for its economy has even led to the establishment of an unprecedented amount of support entities for its budding startup ecosystem. Between 2006 and 2015, the Kingdom tripled the number of incubators, funding organizations, and co-working facilities that support the needs of its entrepreneurs.
The largest number of these institutions are located in the capital city of Riyadh, which is home to more than half of all such organizations in the country. Thanks to the contributions of these support networks, the city’s entrepreneurs have flourished.
Today, Riyadh has the most active of all startup scenes in KSA, with businesses in every industry ranging from digital health to education. Read on to take a closer look at the startups that are part of Riyadh’s growing startup ecosystem:
For those who lead busy lifestyles, completing daily chores such as laundry can seem like an impossible task. Launder is helping make it easier for Riyadh locals to keep their garments looking and feeling fresh by offering on-demand laundry and dry cleaning services to its clients. Whether they are at their computers or on the go, individuals can arrange for the startup to pick up their items at any time. In as little as one day, Launder will clean, press, and deliver their clothes right to their front doors.
Looking to make its services as simple as possible, Launder allows its clients to select from an array of laundry tiers. The startup’s “Relax” service caters to individuals who need regular garment cleaning services, offering a wider pickup window and more flexibility. Launder clients can also choose the “Soon!” service, which ensures that they will receive their cleaned garments within six hours of pickup.
With a member base of nearly 100,000 individuals, The Hub leverages the most current technologies to help its users manage all their upcoming events. Instead of needing to type out lengthy invitations, search for venues, and handle an influx of reservations, individuals can centralize all their event planning duties onto one platform.
The Hub streamlines general event management, allowing hosts to send reminders to their guests and make edits at any time. Attendees can also use the site to view crucial event details before the date arrives.
Marketed as the “Yelp of Arabia,” Qaym has brought the power of the online review to the people of Saudi Arabia. Locals can turn to the site to read and write reviews of eateries throughout Riyadh. The site’s users can browse through the latest restaurant additions, discover popular hotspots, and view photos of the dishes at each. Qaym also boasts a review section for restaurants in different categories, allowing users to find everything from burgers to East Asian fare.
In addition to its review services, Qaym allows restaurant owners to register their businesses online. This gives them the opportunity to not only garner awareness for their eateries, but also to interact with their customers and respond to comments in real time.
An innovative digital health startup, Junnah is helping Arabic users change their habits and pursue healthier lifestyles. The website utilizes a combination of health programming, fun challenges, and support services to help its users meet their fitness goals.
In cooperation with trusted medical professionals, Junnah has developed training exercises and meal recording tools for locals. The site also uses interactive health monitoring services to help its users stay up to date with their progress. Through this online interface, users can connect with devices such as the fitbit and Jawbone UP to make monitoring even simpler.
These health solutions are helping work towards the goal of minimizing the occurrence of Type 2 Diabetes in Saudi Arabian communities, which experience some of the highest rates of the disease in the world.
One of Riyadh’s premier education startups, Rwaq has helped more than 500,000 students enhance their academic journeys with its innovative learning tools. With the help of global partners such as Cisco and Microsoft, the startup has created an online platform through which students can access complimentary educational materials of all kinds.
Whether they are looking to hone their skills with Microsoft Excel or learn basic first aid, students can use Rwaq to find courses that align with their particular area of interest. However, students are not the only ones who can benefit from this resource. Individuals and professionals from all walks of life can use the site to expand their knowledge.
Many of Riyadh’s residents use either a personal driver or car to get around each day. For many of these individuals, managing these services on a daily basis can be challenging. Local startup Sawwagy has unveiled a mobile application that makes it easy for its users to track their drivers and contact them with ride requests at any time.
Through the app, individuals can also follow their personal car during each ride, receive vehicle maintenance notifications, and ensure that their chauffeur is driving safely. Sawwagy also allows its clients to purchase Swazi Pro mobile devices for their drivers. These phones are specifically built with the app in mind, prohibiting drivers from disabling location services and making ride scheduling easier for the user.